Last Thursday, Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar played his final match. It was a momentous day for those to whom cricket is a religion and Tendulkar its god. The cricketer broke almost every record in the game over the course of his career. Tendulkar began playing professional cricket in 1986 as a teenager and retired last week at the age of 40, saying his body had tired under the rigors of the sport.
Hours after his final match, Tendulkar was awarded India’s highest civilian honor, “Bharat Ratna.” He dedicated the award to his own mother and mothers across India. (Did we mention he’s also the most adorable cricket player ever?) Whether you’re a cricket newbie or just curious about the Tendulkar phenomena, you may want to learn more about the man who can singlehandedly silence an entire nation as it turns to watch his matches. You can find additional lists of his impressive cricket stats elsewhere. We’ll leave that to the statisticians. But here are a few things you may not know about the modest star athlete.
1. He delivered one heck of an epic farewell speech after his final game.
Settle down, let him talk. Take out a hankie. We promise you’ll get more and more emotional.
2. Celebrities the world over adore him.
Saluting you @Sachin_RT on your last Test match. Thanks for all the wonderful cricket you've shown us over the last 25 years, we'll miss you
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) November 13, 2013
An end of an era.. Thank u Sachin sir…
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) November 16, 2013
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) November 15, 2013
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2013
3. He’s kind of a big deal on Twitter.
His 140-character message thanking his fans on Twitter the final day of his match became the most re-tweeted tweet in India.
I am really touched with #ThankYouSachin messages. Your support all these years have inspired me to give my best.
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) November 13, 2013
4. His nickname is “Little Master.”
Likely because the cricketer stands at five feet, five inches.
5. He’s straight chilling now.
Post-retirement life is grand. “Today, I woke up at 6.50 AM and suddenly realised that I don’t have to quickly shower and get ready for a match. I made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed a nice breakfast with my wife. It was a relaxed morning. I spent a lot of time responding to all the messages I got.”
6. He met his wife, Anjali, at a Mumbai airport.
They have two children, Sara and Arjun.
7. He’s one of the world’s highest paid athletes according to Forbes.
But he refuses to endorse alcohol.